There are many factors that impact the life of your roof and can cut it short if you are not careful. The first step in ensuring these items don’t shorten the life of your roof is to know what they are. Let’s have a look at the most common items that shorten a roof’s life.

roof life extended by reflective coating 
This dark gray roof received our white reflective coating

Color of the Roof

If your roof is white or light, it will reflect light rather than absorb it. If your roof is dark, it absorbs more heat and UV rays from the sun which deteriorates the roofing materials. This will no doubt shorten your roof life. Solution: Roof paint or roof coating.

Orientation of the Roof

Does the slope of your roof line up facing perpendicularly south? If it does, it will see more sunlight (in the Northern Hemisphere) and will deteriorate for the same reasons as above. Solution: Plan the orientation of your roof before construction; paint or roof coating to mitigate the problem.

Angle or Slope

Roofs with a high pitch tend to last longer than those with low pitches or flat roofs. High-pitches tend to lead to a longer roof life because debris, water and weather run off more easily than on a flat roof. This is a major problem for commercial buildings because a high-pitched roof is typically unreasonable and a waste of resources. Solution: Any amount of pitch added to a roof during construction will minimize this problem; reinforce the roof from underneath.

Number of Layers

Have you been installing one roofing system over another for the last twenty years? This will decrease your roof life because each layer is not installed the way it was designed to and will therefore not perform as designed. Solution: Don’t install multiple roofing systems, pay the tear-out bill to save money later; install silicone coatings that are designed to go on over top your old system.

Trees Near Roof

Not only is the danger of a falling tree what could shorten the life of your building in this situation, but leafs and debris that fall from the trees are acidic and that wears on your roof as well. Solution: Keep trees near your building trimmed to minimize debris; regularly clean your rooftop to keep debris from building up.

Harsh Climate

Severe temperatures experienced in hot summers and cold winters damage your roof by simply increasing wear and tear. Large temperature swings in a single day can also damage the roof. This is called thermal shock and it greatly reduces your roof life. Solution: Select materials that can stand up to temperature swings and harsh weather when planning your building or researching a new roofing system.


It’s a rough life for the roof on your building and there are many factors outside of those examined here that can shorten your building’s roof life. When you are making decisions regarding your roof, remember that it doesn’t operate in a vacuum, there are many outside forces that can lengthen or shorten your roof life.